Wetting failure of hydrophilic surfaces promoted by surface roughness

Sci Rep. 2014 Jun 20;4:5376. doi: 10.1038/srep05376.


Wetting failure is of vital importance to many physical phenomena, such as industrial coating and drop emission. Here we show when and how the surface roughness promotes the destabilization of a moving contact line on a hydrophilic surface. Beyond the balance of the driving force and viscous resistance where a stable wetting interface is sustained, wetting failure occurs and is modified by the roughness of the surface. The promoting effect arises only when the wetting velocity is high enough to create a gas-liquid-solid composite interface in the vicinity of the moving contact line, and it is a function of the intrinsic contact angle and proportion of solid tops. We propose a model to explain splashes of rough solid spheres impacting into liquids. It reveals a novel concept that dynamic wetting on hydrophilic rough surfaces can be similar to that on hydrophobic surfaces, and brings a new way to design surfaces with specific wetting properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't